Monday, October 29, 2012

Nutrition for Sports

What's the best diet before, during and after endurance exercise?
This post originated because my partner completed a 165km cycle yesterday conquering Canberra's hills in the Fitz's Challenge (Well done Mike!). Being a dietitian, I was interested in ensuring his nutrition and hydration was optimal before, during and after the event. With so many of us training for fun runs, fitness challenges, triathlons and marathons; I thought I'd post about nutrition for sports.  

Carbohydrate Loading

  • Who should carbohydrate load?
    • Anyone exercising continuously at a moderate to high intensity for 90 minutes or longer e.g. cycling, marathon running and longer distance triathlon
  • The AIS recommends 1-4 days of exercise taper while following a high carbohydrate diet (7-12g carbohydrate/kg body weight/ day)
    • This is sufficient to elevate muscle glycogen (stored glucose = fuel) and can improve performance by 2-3%
  • For example, a 70kg man needs 490 - 840g carbohydrate to effectively carbohydrate load (equivalent to 32-56 slices of bread)
  • In order to consume this amount of carbohydrate, it is necessary to make use of compact sources of carbohydrate such as sugar, cordial, soft drinks, sports drinks, jam, honey, jelly and tinned fruit

Nutrition Before Sport

  • Carbohydrate breaks down into glucose
    • Glucose = fuel
  • Before sport consume a high carbohydrate, low glycaemic index, low fat, easily digested meal 2-4 hours before
  • Aiming for 1-4g carbohydrate per kg body weight
  • For example, a 70kg man needs 70 - 280g carbohydrate (minimum 4.6 slices bread)
  • The table below has examples of foods containing 30g; so a 70kg man would need to consume at least 2.5 of these options to meet a minimum of 70g carbohydrate
  • An example is 3 weet-bix with milk and a 250ml glass of juice

Nutrition During Sport

  • Sports lasting <1 hour do not threaten fuel stores
  • Sports lasting >1 hour do
  • Foods during sports should be high carbohydrate but high glycaemic index (broken down quickly into glucose to give you energy)
  • Aiming for 30-60g carbohydrate per hour
  • An example of 30-60g carbohydrate = 2 x sports gels, 1L Gatorade, 1 x sports performance bar,  8 snackes/jellies

Nutrition After Sport

  • Key nutrient for recovery = protein
  • Aiming for 10-20g protein
  • Works best when coupled with carbohydrate
  • Eat within 30 minutes
    • The bodies protein synthesis mechanism is working best within this time
  • Good post sport snacks/ meals include eggs on toast, fruit smoothie, liquid meal supplement (e.g. Sustagen sport), Up & Go, sandwich with meat or cheese, glass of milk and almonds, protein shake (if low carbohydrate, consume with piece of fruit/ toast for carbohydrates and protein performance bars
  • The table below has examples of foods containing 10g protein

FYI: Protein in excess of need is oxidised as energy and doesn't have an anabolic effect. The maximum amount of protein the body can utilise is 2g protein/ kg body weight/ day.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Milking Your Options

Cows, goat, almond, oat, rice, soy... Take one guess what I'm talking about...
There are so many different varieties of milk on the supermarket shelves. Thanks to my friend for suggesting this blog with the question "is almond milk healthy?" in mind.

One of the most important nutrients in milk is calcium. Fortunately, a lot of milk substitutes are fortified with calcium. Check the label and choose a milk with at least 120mg calcium per 100ml. This  ensures about 300mg per serve (standard serve is 250ml).
Milk is also a good source of protein, with regular cow's milk providing about 8g per serve. Almond, soy, rice and oat milks are lower in protein, but protein enriched varieties are available.
Almond, soy, rice and oat milks are all naturally lower in fat and calories than regular cows milk, but reduced fat varieties are available if you are watching your weight.

Dietitians Pick for Milk Substitutes:

Almond milk
A few brands, such as Australia's Own and Sanitarium do not specify the calcium content in the nutrition information panel.
  • Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Original Unsweetened
  • Silk Pure Almond 

Soy milk
  • Vitasoy Lite Soy
  • Sanitarium So Good Lite Soy

Oat milk
  • Vitasoy Original Oat Milk

Rice milk
  • Vitasoy Protein Enriched Rice Milk
Almond, soy, oat and rice milk are all great substitutes for cow's milk, particularly if you suffer from lactose intolerance. Just be sure to check the information panel and choose the brand with the most calcium and protein per 100ml, and the least energy/ kilojoules per 100ml.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Recipe Makeovers

Do you have a favourite family recipe? Something that you cook week in and week out? Find out how to give your favourite recipes a  nutritional makeover to make them even healthier.


Ways to modify recipes to make them healthier:

  1. Cut calories by using reduced fat products e.g. skim milk, lite cheese, extra light ricotta and extra light cream
  2. Increase the fibre by switching to wholemeal or wholegrain varieties e.g. brown rice, wholemeal pasta and wholemeal flour
  3. Add more vegies than the recipe calls for
  4. Use lean meats e.g. heart smart mince, skinless chicken breasts and rindless bacon
  5. Replace some of the meat with legumes and lentils to boost fibre
  6. Cut salt by using reduced-salt or no-added-salt products e.g. reduced-salt chicken/ vegetable stock and reduced-salt tomato paste

Recipe Makeovers

Spaghetti Bolognaise

  • Cut calories and increase fibre by replacing 1/2 of the meat with a 400g can brown lentils
  • Use reduced-salt tinned tomatoes rather than bolognaise sauce
  • Add chopped vegies such as carrot and mushrooms
  • Replace white spaghetti with wholemeal spaghetti
Lentil Bolognaise - Healthy Food Guide Recipe

Fried Rice

  • Cut calories by using lean skinless chicken breast and rindless bacon
  • Cut salt by using reduced-salt soy sauce
  • Increase fibre and lower the GI by replacing white jasmine rice with brown rice
  • Add fresh vegies such as carrot, celery and onion
Low Fat Fried Rice - Healthy Food Guide Recipe


Carbonara Pasta

  • Replace cream with either Philadelphia 85% less fat cream for cooking or extra light ricotta
  • Increase fibre by replacing white pasta with wholemeal pasta
  • Cut calories by using rindless bacon
Penne Carbonara - Healthy Food Guide Recipe

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Juice up your life!

I was very lucky this week to be given a Juicing machine (a dietitian's dream!) for my birthday. I thought I'd share one of my favourite recipes with you all and some of the latest research showing fruits and vegetables make us happy!

Apple, Carrot, Celery & Ginger Juice

How to make this juice?
Simply juice 1 apple, 1 large carrot, 2 celery stalks and 1cm cube fresh ginger root. Serving size: 250ml
Number of serves of fruit in this juice: 1
Number of serves of vegetables in this juice: 2

A new report has shown people who eat 7 fruits and vegetables a day are happiest. The report found happiness rose with the number of daily serves of fruits and vegetables consumed, with happiness peaking at 7 serves.
This report is in line with our national campaign, 'go for 2 & 5' (encouraging 2 serves of fruit and 5 serves of vegetables per day). 1 serve of fruit is one medium piece of fruit, two small pieces of fruit or 1 cup of diced fruit. 1 serve of vegetables is 1/2 cup cooked vegetables or 1 cup salad vegetables. The most recent National Health Survey showed only 6% of adults met their recommended serves.
How do you meet your 2 & 5?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The glycaemic load: everything in moderation

I see many clients with Type 2 diabetes, PCOS, insulin resistance as well as people struggling with their weight. All of these clients benefit from a low glycemic index diet. Most people are familiar with the glycaemic index or GI, however the glycaemic load is a concept that may be new to you. 

The glycaemic load = (GI of a carbohydrate food x quantity of carbohydrate in the food)/ 100

I explain to my clients that even though a food may be low GI; if you eat large quantities at any one time it can still cause your blood sugar levels to spike. This is another instance where the saying "everything in moderation" holds true.

So, when you're serving up your starchy vegetables, rice, pasta or bread, it's important to not only consider whether you're making a low GI choice, but check the serving size too to keep the glycaemic load in check.

What's equivalent to 1 slice of bread? 
  • 1/3 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/3 cup cooked cous cous 
  • 1/3 cup cooked rice
  • 1/2 cup cooked pasta 
  • 1/2 large corn on the cob 
  • 1/2 cup sweet potato 
  • 1/2 cup beans/lentils
A great way to keep your carbohydrate portions in check is to aim to fill 1/4 of your plate with low GI carbohydrates, 1/4 with lean meats or protein alternatives and 1/2 with vegetables or salad. Click on the link below to see the portion plate.